One of the biggest problems for lovers of vintage wines is trying to find the right time to open a specific bottle – open a vintage bottle too early and the wine may not have matured and mellowed out sufficiently, but open it too late the wine may be past its prime and lose out on flavours as phenolic compounds in the wine polymerise over time. Enter the Coravin, a device that lets you access a wine from a bottle without pulling out the cork.
The Coravin wine system is a complex yet simple-to-use tool that uses a patented technique of pulling wine out of a bottle without having to rip off the seal and popping open the cork. The tool essentially inserts a needle into the bottle and extracts the wine, and at the same time replaces the displaced liquid with an equal volume of inert argon gas, thereby preventing any oxidative effect on the remaining wine through the presence of oxygen. First invented by medical device inventor Greg Lambrecht in 2011, the first iteration of Coravin – the Coravin 1000 Wine Access System – was made commercially available in 2013.
Vintage wine collectors can therefore, with the Coravin, access their vintage bottles for a small sample to check if the wine has arrived at its optimum maturity; if not, they can simply return the bottle to proper storage for further aging. The Coravin however does not work on screw-cap bottles.
Coravin recently launched the Coravin Model Two, an improved version of the original Coravin that not only works faster but also introduced a quick release system for installing and removing gas capsules more easily. It also comes with a clamp system that clasps to the wine bottle, making it easier to pour wine with.
Vintage Wine Club, the official distributor for Coravin here in Singapore, sells the Coravin Model Two for S$529 (comes with two gas capsules), which is relatively similar in price to what one may find online. “We wanted to be sure that we can offer the Coravin at a fair price point to consumers in every market,” said Coravin CEO Frederic Levy (pictured above, left) when he was recently in Singapore.
The Coravin wine system is garnering interest from on-premise wine venues, which sees the device as a way to be able to serve premium vintage wines to customers without comprising the integrity of the bottle and remaining wine within. In the United States, all 60-over outlets of the Morton’s Steakhouse chain utilise Coravin to serve wine.